A Two Week Travel Itinerary – An Introduction to Asia

A Two Week Travel Itinerary –  An Introduction to Asia post image

If you only had two weeks of vacation, and wanted to use them to visit Asia for the first time, where should you go? How should you spend your time?

This was a question I faced in 2013, when I was organizing a two week trip for – and with – my parents.

I shared the challenge with many friends who were seasoned travelers (special thanks to fellow bloggers James and Jodi) and eventually came up with the itinerary below.

Our idea was to have a mix of food, cultures, landscapes and level of development. I wanted to maximize what we saw (because it might be our only chance to go together), but also have enough time to kick back a little and enjoy each location.

The schedule we hit upon offers plenty of rest time to recover from jetlag on both ends of the trip. And 12 days gives you enough time to see three very different countries and cultures.

If you are planning on visiting the region, and have limited time, I hope you find the following useful – or, at least, a starting point!

The verdict:

  • Hong Kong. 3 days. Why? Spectacular cityscape. Developed, futuristic city. Great food and shopping.
  • Hanoi, Vietnam. 4 days. Why? Food, food, food. Frenetic and developing city. History everywhere.
  • Koh Samui, Thailand. 4 days. Picture postcard beaches. Opportunities for pampering. Snorkeling, boating, relaxing by the infinity pool.
  • Bangkok, Thailand. 1 day. Why? Street food, shopping, a modern Asian city that compliments Hong Kong and Hanoi’s different levels of development. A fabulously colorful culture and street life.

In retrospect, I would have cut one day off of HK and added it to Bangkok at the end.

Here’s some pics from the trip!

Days 1 to 3 – Hong Kong



Pretty good looking Hong Kong.


Stop and eat everything.


Exploring the markets and streets of Kowloon island.


Markets everywhere.


Love Nikes and started my career in ‘store fixture’ design. Both look pretty good here.


Signing papers at my accountant’s office.


First HK street food. Fish skin chips!


Junk shopping on the street.


Parents had never tasted jackfruit, one of my favorites.

Days 4 through 7 – Hanoi, Vietnam



Why not a great steak in Asia?


Draft beer on the street. That’ll be $.25 sir.


Bun cha is a famous Hanoi dish. We sat down here and ordered a soup.


Flaming fish!


Dat soup. 1 dolla.


Bun cha!


Commerce in Hanoi.


Waiting in line to see Ho Chi Minh himself, one of my favorite moments in Hanoi.


Surprise Cyclo ride. My travel philosophy when touring is just to jump on and jump in everything.


Egg coffee.


Street food from a small table.


Late night treat.


Pampered spa experience.

IMG_0760 IMG_0764

Days 8 through 11 – Koh Samui, Thailand


Not much you need to plan when you’ve got this.


Charming resorts in Koh Samui.


A day trip Koh Nang Yuan


Trying to beat the heat.


Snorkeling off of Koh Tao.


Dinner on the beach in Koh Samui. Ate a ton, bill came to around $50.


Learned to make Thai curry paste in Koh Samui.


Curry paste!

Final Day – Bangkok


Street food in Bangkok. $1.50.


Outdoor kitchen in Bangkok.


Watching the sun go down from the Pullman G.

So how did it go? I consider this trip to be one of my greatest life accomplishments. Great memories, no great disasters. Family time made extra special by sharing places I’ve grown to love with those closest to me.

I’m going to shut my laptop now and get on a one way flight to Bangkok. Figured it would be a fitting time to post these photos which have been uploaded to, but unpublished on, my blog for a few years now.

Would love to hear your insights if you’ve ever done a similar trip. What would you do differently?

Safe travels,


Published on 10.04.16
  • Chris Mitchell

    I found 4 days Bangkok – 4 days Siem Reap for the temples and 4 days Koh Lanta in Krabi, Thailand worked well for modern Asia / ancient Asia / beach r&r time. My dad was a huge history nerd so Angkor blew his mind. I deliberately planned in lots of time for moving from place to place so they could have time to chill out and acclimatise (humidity can be hard work).

    Irrespective of the itinerary, I think travelling with your parents is one of the most rewarding things you can do. There’s obviously the sense of connection and spending time together, but it’s also where you get to “give back” to your folks and come into your own as the organiser and letting them take the back seat thinking about logistics. Being surrounded by so much new stimuli provokes some great conversations and, inevitably, lots of interesting stories about your parents’ lives before you came along ;)

  • Nice one! I’ve actually never been to Siem Reap, saving something for later I guess.

    RE: rewarding totally agree, it certainly was that for me. I enjoyed the process of planning organizing the trip for their maximum benefit. We also got to learn new things about each other in the process… for some reason since my parents hadn’t been to Asia I wasn’t sure if they’d love it as much as I did. Those worries were quickly put to rest!

  • Jump on and jump in. #wordstoliveby

    PS. Answer my email superstar, BCN plans to coordinate. :)

  • JustinWCooke

    What?!? Dude, you’ve got to go. You could skip PP, but Siem Reap is amazing. Angkor Wat is breathtaking, obviously, but the town itself is quaint, the people are super friendly, and I think you’d really enjoy it.

  • Chris Mitchell

    totally agree – I’ve been back to Siem Reap and the temples 6 times in the last 12 years, twice in the last 2. If you’re into history, it’s like going down the rabbit hole. And if you like taking photos, it’s just ridiculously photogenic.

  • cheers :D and did!

  • cheers helps to hear that as for some reason I figured it would be overrun or something

  • noted! enjoy all of the above.

  • Hang on, hang on, hang on…

    Egg coffee?!

  • strange and delicious! :)

  • I’ll have to take your word for that Dan.

    I’d try it though… :o

Next post: